For Halloween, I thought I would try to make a glowing monster mask for my budget arduino robot. Here’s the original, somewhat overly ambitious plan that I made:
Since I already had the robot, the first thing I had to do was make the mask with Instamorph:
Instamorph goes into a pan of water heated to 140-150 F and when you take it out, it is moldable by hand. Here’s the stuff being heated (a little too high temp, I might add):
Here you can see that I’ve made the horns and am working on the eye holes:
Then I wrote a program (aka ‘sketch’) in Wiring (the Arduino computer language) for the ‘menacing’ path that the robot would follow. At the same time, I wanted the eyes to glow at varying levels, so I plugged the eye-LEDs into PWM pins. I mounted the robot on a block, uploaded the program and tested with the USB cable connected to my computer:
Once satisfied that they would work in breadboard form, I soldered the eye circuits with the help of ‘helping hands’:
(I’d pose the solder here too, but I had to hold the camera. Maybe I need another set of ‘helping hands!’)
Although I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough power from a single pin to power both LEDs, I did solder the ground wires together in order to use the single ground pin next to pin 13:
Hard to believe that couple months ago, I would have procastinated this project into oblivion rather than do any soldering. But compared to making the mask and debugging the program, soldering was a breeze!
Here’s a rear view of the installation of the eyes into the mask:
When placing the mask on the robot, I realized the mask was too wide, so I had to put it in warm water again and reform it. I was thinking I’d have to cut the sides, but it turned out that all I had to do was bend the edges. That was better anyhow, because it made the mask more three dimensional. Maybe I should have put a nose on the mask too, but I was anxious by then to move on.
Note the paper clips that are embedded into the mask here, and the jumper-wire fastenings:
Yes, it’s rather kludgey, but all of this is basically prototype work so I am forgiven.
Anyhow, here’s the video, courtesy of Youtube:
So there you have it — an Arduino Monster Robot. And despite my efforts on the mask, perhaps the scariest thing about this robot is all the spaghetti wiring. Well, the Arduino does come from Italy.
Maybe next Halloween I can build something bigger with, yes, a nose — but also maybe a face that glows an eerie yellow and sound effects that growl and roar when facing the viewer/victim. The Arduino Uno has extra pins for all kinds of ideas.